Tiki's • In SW Lincoln City
Spend a little island time
Tiki’s brings a bit of the
South Pacific to Lincoln City
By Niki Price
Oregon Coast TODAY
There are plenty of hard and dour faces at 1005 SW 51st St. — but not one of them is human. The people at Carol and Al Sovey’s beach shack café are eating fish tacos, drinking Mojitos and savoring Tillamook ice cream. At Tiki’s in Taft, only the tiki heads can keep themselves from smiling.
These carved Polynesian-style figurines are everywhere you look: on the walls, the menu and the coffee mugs. Along with the thatching, the umbrella tables, the upbeat music and Gypsy, the talking macaw, these tikis cultivate the island style that makes the Soveys and their customers happy.
Alison Robertson, who has been coming to Tiki’s for the last four years, said that the café’s walkway off SW 51st pulls her into a “vacation mental space.”
“Even when it’s raining, just to see the lounge chairs out in the front yard makes me know that the sun will return one day, maybe while I’m having my latté,” she said.
Robertson, a “pescatarian” who likes to season her vegetarian diet with a little fish, usually orders the Very Veggie Wrap or Tiki’s Fish Tacos. She likes them on the front porch, next to the indoor water fountain.
“If that’s not enough reason to visit Tiki’s, it’s at least worth a trip to see Gypsy dance,” she said.
Add to that a 12-foot tall Fiberglas reproduction of an Easter Island stone head, which the Soveys just installed in the café’s front yard. They plan to bring in a hidden speaker, too, so that the stoic ancient man can talk to the passers-by.
For the past six years, the Soveys have offered a little fun for everyone. There’s a menu of espresso drinks, hot and cold, spiked or not, made with fresh-roasted Stumptown Coffee. The food offerings include foot-long hot dogs, made with all-beef Red Hot Chicago brand products, and wraps made with sushi-grade ahi tuna, pan-seared cod or Caribbean chicken. Burgers, stuffed pretzels, pulled-pork sandwiches and even treats for dogs populate a menu they call “beach food.”
When the days are warm, Al and Carol find themselves scooping a lot of Tillamook Ice Cream, in eight flavors. They offer a Hang Ten Banana Split (choose your own flavors or classic Vanilla with three syrups) and a Kona Coffee Explosion (coffee ice cream, coffee syrup, dusted with fresh ground coffee and served with a double shot of espresso). Carol’s favorite is the Call Your Mama, with seven scoops of ice cream, three toppings, whipped cream and the works.
The amusements continue on the cocktails menu, which now features the Down the Hatch Margarita.
“We sat here one night with our friend Dan, and taste tested it, and taste tested it, until we created the best margarita we’ve ever had,” Carol said. “It’s got six ingredients that we won’t reveal. I’m not much of a margarita drinker, but it’s pretty darned good.”
A drink with growing (some might say sudden and unexpected) popularity is the Sneaker Wave, with rum and seltzer water with splashes of mango and passion fruit syrup, and a twist of lime.
“I don’t know if it’s the name or what, but the Sneaker Wave is really picking up,” Al said.
There are non-alcoholic beverage treats like Tahitian Noni Fruit Spritzer, Italian sodas, juice drinks, smoothies, frappes, Creamosas, and a plethora of espresso drinks made with Portland’s own Stumptown Coffee. If you aren’t afraid of caffeine, Carol will suggest the Black Tiger: a four-shot espresso drink, iced and blended with finely ground coffee, coffee liqueur and milk.
“If you want a coffee lift, it will definitely do that for you,” Al said.
Tiki’s is a mostly summer operation for the Soveys, who split their time between the beach and Willamette Valley. Every year, they introduce new drinks and dishes (as well as elements of décor). The latest addition, the Ahi Tuna Sandwich, isn’t even on the menu yet. It’s got sushi grade ahi tuna — cooked rare, of course — and two layers of fresh tomatoes, spinach and other vegetables.
Also new this season is an expanded children’s menu, with classics like peanut butter and jelly, cheese quesadillas, gluten-free wraps, hamburger buns and packaged snacks. The Soveys want to make sure that everyone feels welcome at their cafe – no matter how staid the tikis look.
“We seem to have found a niche, especially with travelers with children,” Al said. “Where else can you get ice cream, drinks, meals and some nice music, too?”
“We like to call ourselves the small island,” Carol added. “North is the big island, with the casino and the rest of town. We’re separated by a sea of asphalt.”
Tiki’s, 1005 SW 51st St. in the Taft District of Lincoln City, is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. “island time.” To learn more, order takeout or request a delivery, call 541-996-4200.
Editor’s Note: As a service to readers and participating restaurants, the TODAY keeps archived dining features posted for an extended period of time. Please note that, especially in seasonal markets like the Oregon Coast, hours, menus, and days of operation frequently change, and may no longer match those in place at the time features like this one were first published. We encourage you to phone ahead, or visit these restaurants’ websites, before finalizing your plans.